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2. How Can I Enjoy God?

Michael Dant
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The first and great commandment is to love God. And yet for most of my sincere Christian life, my love for Him was tepid at best. Where does such love for God come from? How did I miss out on it for the first 30 years after my baptism?


Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 


  • April 23, 2016
    2:00 PM
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And you're going to need a pencil or pen for this exercise and. If we give you any extra pencils or pens around or do they have in the pews or something or. Ok tie them look you can use those. To any pen we have some pens here. So you know grab a himno or something you can write on and. I'm doing an experiment this is the first time i've ever done this. I want to see how well this works and i want your input on it. So i'd appreciate if you would. If you'd follow along in the focus guide fill in the blanks. Where appropriate with the words. And i want to see if that can be a blessing to you. And trying to find ways to teach this material more effectively. And so what i'm going to do. Is in the presentation. Every time you see a word that's underlined. It goes in one of those blanks. Ok so every time you look on the presentation you see a word that's underlined. You know that you've got to write it down somewhere. All right. If you want to you have to if you don't want to but. And we'll see how well that works out. Ok and then i'll explain the rest of the materials to you at the end. All right. Make sense. There you go. All right. So. We're going to look at. Enjoying god to the fullest. What does it mean to really enjoy god and how can we really enjoy god and. I'd like for you to think of questions. As i'm presenting this if anything is not clear if there's anything that you want to say. I'd like you to to tap that in your mind and. Afterwards we're going to have a question answer. Sharing time together. And i'd like you to. Bring it up and share your question. With the rest of the group is that ok. I am really looking forward to hear your questions and be able to interact with you. I want to emphasize. One thing and that is. I'm not the expert in fact some of you have been converted. Much longer than i have all that god is asking me to do today. Is to share my experience. To share what he's taught me. And you all have things you can teach me. We can teach each other that's how it works. So i am so thankful for the privilege here. To share with you and i hope that from my experience or from some of the things that the lord has taught me that you can be blessed. In some way. So what are we looked at this morning. We looked at this idea that if we want to love god with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength we need to see. We need prayer. We need bible study. When you witness it all those are important tools. But we also need a seed. And the seed of love for god is the surrender of self and that's something that took me forty years then to understand the learn. And i know that many of you guys learned it much more quickly than i i know that i'm a hard case. But the lord finally got through to me and i felt so thankfully did. If i want to love god with all my heart with all my mind with all my soul with all my strength. Then i must give god. All my heart and all my soul and all my strength. Well what does that mean in practical terms see the thing is i'm a computer science teacher. And therefore i have this. This. Desire to get down to the practical logical. Fundamentals now. Obviously the christian life is not all head knowledge there's a lot there's a rich relationship it's who you know what not what you know but the truth will set you free. So there is something to do with this idea of understanding how the christian life works a little bit better. And i wish that i had understood some of these things. It would have made my christian life so much smoother. So much earlier so for you kids especially as i encourage you to listen carefully because this can revel. Christian experience. And i really hope that this can be a blessing to you guys. All right. So i'm going to ask you a question. A question that i heard asked from the pulpit once and when i first heard this question. I said oh that's easy. But the more i thought about it. The more i realize it wasn't as easy as i thought it was going to be. In fact i had no answer for it. Here's a question. If salvation. Underlined word there by the way. If salvation. Is a free gift of god. And does not come by works. Then why does god require obedience. So fill in the words. Salvation. Works. And obedience. If salvation. Is a free gift of god. And does not come by works which the bible clearly teaches. We're righteous by faith not by works. The bible clearly teaches that. So then why does god require obedience. That's the question. We want to ask. Now. A common answer to this question is all that's easy. It's not about obedience. Obeying we obey god because of the love of what he's already done for us. He's done so many wonderful things for us. We're so thankful. We obey him out of love for him. And that's a good answer. Just not to this question. You see there is a question where does our motivation come from and love. Is the only true motivation for obeying god. Absolutely. But that's not the question we're asking here. We're asking. What is obedience. For what its purpose. If it's not about earning deserving american salvation then what does it for that's we want it we want to answer. So some to having us have a love hate relationship with legalism. On the one hand. We fight. Legalism. Intensely. And that's good. We should. Legalism is a. Trying to earn. It's an insidious evil. Where we try to earn. Something that has already been freely given to us. And in the process of trying to earn what has already been free to be given to us we lose it. Entirely. But on the other hand we recognize as seventh heaven is that obedience is important. Don't mean. You ask any sentiment is obedience important say absolutely. Do we have to obey god absolutely yes. We have a love hate relationship with the billions. We fight the legalism. But we also love to billions. We know it is not a fact we are one of the few faith groups who still keep all ten of the ten commandments. Right we have this this. Appreciation for god's commandments. The problem comes when somebody starts to obey too carefully. Ever notice that right. We get kind of a little bit leery of the scary. You know legalism truth. You know and. You might hear somebody say wow that guy needs to get a life he won't even eat. You know fill in the blank. Or bought a legal if she won't even watch or listen to or. Fill in the blank right. But is it legalism. To obey god as carefully as we can. It doesn't have to be. It can be in fact you look at a legalism you look at a true follower of christ they both obey god as carefully as they can. But for different reasons. Ok so are you a legal list. No you're not. Do you a big god as carefully as you can. Yes. Why. That's what we want to answer right now. Why. What is the purpose of obedience. If it's not about earning deserving american salvation. So it doesn't take a theologian. To find out that. Obeying god is important to him. The bible is chock full of commands have you ever noticed that. You could hardly read a page of scripture without have some some kind of command. From scripture. For example. Love your enemies. Be content with your wages. Endure hardship. Be patient toward all people. A hard one. Hurtful lust's be glad and persecution to all to the glory of god. Give cheerfully. Keep yourself pure and deny yourself. These are all can some of the commands that are in scripture. Now we often think of the old testament as being the demanding part of the bible don't mean. Guess where all these commands came from. Matter of fact. I recently found a website that lists one thousand and fifty. Commands from the new testament alone. You don't have to be a theologian to read the bible. And recognize that god values our obedience. For some reason. It's not about earning deserving american salvation we've already covered that. Then what is the reason why is it so important to him. If salvation is a free gift of god does not come by works. Then why does god require obedience. Well. Perhaps the best place to go and to find the answer to this question is to look at the ancient people of israel. This is perhaps one of the most commanded people in all of scripture in all of history perhaps. They had no sooner been freed from slavery in egypt when god takes in the mount sinai. And says that shalt not bear shalt not thou shalt not thou shalt. Ok. And then after he gives them the ten commandments. He piles on the sanctuary. With all of its services and rituals. And then. If that isn't enough. He gives them all the levitical. Do's and don'ts. That make. Leviticus so hard to read even today right. Why did god do this to his poor people. Why don't you just back off and leave him alone. Why did god do this to his people. Does god enjoy. Boston people around. Is the purpose of obedience. Because god wants to be obeyed. Obviously not. So what is it for the answers. God didn't do this to his people. He did it for them. God says in deuteronomy twenty eight to. All these blessings. There's a underlined word. Will come upon you and overtake you. If you obey the lord your god. All these blessings. Will come upon you and overtake you. If you obey the lord your god. This is verse two of chapter twenty of deuteronomy. If you have not yet read chapter eight of deuteronomy i encourage you to do so it's an. It's a fascinating chapter. The first half of the chapters all about god's blessings blessing blessing blessing blessing. And the last half is about curses. Curses that come from not following god. And i don't want to read the whole thing. The whole first half of the chapter right now but i want to give you an overview of this incredible chapter so i'm going to read this to you. Very quickly. You can read it on the screen. You don't necessarily have to understand my words. And you will be blessed in the city. And blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed. And the crops of your land and the young of your live stock. Your basket in your kneading trough will be blessed. You'll be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction. But they will flee from you in seven directions seven. The lord will send a blessing on your barns on everything you put your hand to the lord your god will bless you in the land he has given you the lord will establish you as his holy people. As he promised you an oath. If. If you keep the commands of the lord your god. And walk in his ways. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the lord and they will fare you well it goes on the lord will grant you abundant prosperity the lord will open the heavens the storehouse of his bounty to send rain on your land in the season and bless the work of your hands. You will lead to many nations but you will borrow from none. The lord will make you the head. Not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the lord your god that i give you this. And carefully follow them. You will always be at the top. Never at the bottom. Do not. God says. Please please do not turn aside from any of the commands i give you today. To the right. Or to the left. When you read that don't you just get the feeling that god wants to bless his people. Don't you just get the feeling that god is eager to pour out his goodness. Upon us. And he's looking for any excuse to do it. That is the god that we serve. That is the god that we love. He just wants to bless us. God says in deuteronomy five twenty nine zero that they had such a heart in them that they would fear me and keep all my commandments always. Why. That it may be well. With them and their sons. Forever. That's what god wants. Tell the righteous it will be well with them for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Proverbs eight thirty five thirty six he who finds me talking about wisdom. Finds life. And obtains favor from the lord but. He who sins against me interest to injures himself. Jesus says if you know these things you are blessed. That when you stop to stop there. No. If you do them. God just wants to bless us my friends. Every one of god's commandments. Is a gift. An invitation to be blessed to see that again. Every one of god's commandments. Is a gift and. In the taishan. To be blessed god just wants to bless us. Ellen white tells us that the human family is suffering because of transgression of the laws of god the lord desires that men should be led to understand the cause of their suffering. And the only way to find relief. He desires them to see that their well being physical and mental and moral. Depends upon their obedience to his law. Every one of god's command. It is a gift. And invitation to be blessed. My friends the bible is chock full of. Invitations to be blessed. Every one of god's commands. Is a gift. An invitation to be blessed. That is why. Obeying god is so important. It's not about earning deserving american salvation a god asked us to do this. He asked us to do it because guess what his commands. Are the good way. There's no downside to doing god's way because his ways a good way. Every time. The problem comes when we follow our own way right. Now we sometimes let the devil give obedience a bad name. On christmas morning. Around the country. Parents get out of bed it really really early. Did you tell me this is correct ok listen carefully. Christmas morning. Parents get out of bed really really early. And they go into their children's bedrooms and they yank him out of bed. And they say no you go down and open those presents right now or else. Right that's how it works right. You guys. Experience that know what. No no no it's the other way around. It's the children who stress the meaning of mourning and come balancing their beds and say can you open a president can open a present yeah. Why then as christians do we say all or do i have to open that present. Do i have to go your way. Do i have to experience that blessing. Why do we let the devil give obedience a bad name. God just wants to bless us. Every one of his. Commands as a gift. And invitation to be blessed. This sentence right here. Let me let me let you write this in obedience is not why god blesses me. It is how. He blesses me. Those two words why and how. Are so and. In port and. If we would just understand this sentence. We could not be a legal list. Illegal a says. Obedience is why god bless the me i deserve it. I earn it. I feel somehow you know. Get this from god because of what i've done. It's like i've got this money. This. Obedience is like money i pay for god's blessings that's not true. Obedience is not why god blesses me. It's how he does it. It's so important that we understand the difference. Obedience is like holding up an empty basket and say lord. Lavish your goodness on me thank you for your gifts. Every time god acis do something it's good. There's a cause and effect. Do it god's way. It's good. Now of course it won't always be easy. It won't always be comfortable. It'll be self-denying. Self sacrificing yes. But you'll be good. Every one of god's commands. Is a gift. An invitation to be blessed. So if salvation is a free gift of god and does not come by works. Then why does god require billions. Now we know the answer. The answer is because god just wants to bless us. That's the answer. It's so easy. How could i have such a hard time with that. God just wants to bless us every one of his commands is a gift and. Invitation to be blessed. Ok. Now i want to ask you a question. We're going to get really practical here hope you don't mind. When i get really practical. If that's true. If god just wants to bless us in every one of his commands it is a gift. And invitation to be blessed. Then can i say. Thanks but no thanks to god. My second question is that. Today. Can i say thanks but no thanks to god. In other words. Can i say lord. I know what you're asking me to do. And i appreciate it. Really i do. I know it's best. You know i'd rather go my own way on this if you don't mind. I'm willing to accept the consequences. I think i am. Isn't ok for me to say lord thanks but no thanks. When he commands us to do something. In other words. Can i skip out on a blessing. Well ok. Let me put this down to very practical terms now. Let's say that i'm a dairy queen. And i've been working out in the hot sun all day. And i'm hot. And i'm thirsty. And i'm standing there in line a dairy queen looking at the menu and i see the chocolate chocolate sundae with extra chocolate. And i say oh that would be so good right now. I can just taste it. Sizzling on my taste buds. And i say to the lord. You know lord i know that you have asked me whether i eat or drink or whatever i do. Do all to the glory of god and. I know that my body is the temple of the holy spirit and you want me to eat as healthy as possible. But if you don't mind. I'm going to get this sunday anyway because you know. It's not to give me cancer. I'm going to survive it. My body will be. Will recoup rate in a couple days. Hopefully. Is it ok for me to say thanks but no thanks to god god is asked me to. Whether eat or drink to all to the glory of god. And i know that ice cream sundaes are not known for their god glorifying qualities. Can i choose to do it anyway. That's the question i want to ask. I want to think about. Yes we do have free will and it's just a sunday. It's not adultery. I'm not robbing the bank. Come on i'm making a mountain over a molehill here. Is this legalism. To say thanks but no thanks to god. God has given us the power of choice. The power of choice is our one. Great power. It will through all eternity be our one great power. But you know what. It seems like sometimes. In the end times here. We have begun to take our power of choice a little bit for granted. If you are not noticed that. I took a group of students from southern every university to sierra leone africa. To do evangelist series there was like twelve of us. And each one of us did a full series. One thousand sermons in seventeen days. These are the cream of the cream of the crop. So the ravenous university students who are going to give it advances that series all by themselves. In one part of the town. And as we were preparing for one of our. Presentations i was preparing alone i was looking at my presentation. And think about what i'm going to say and everything. We were talking about the sabbath. And the presentation. We got these from share him. I think it was the presentation asked us to astley. Audience. Why do you keep sunday. Do you keep sunday because you studied in scripture and you know that's what god says. Or do you keep sunday because your parents do it your peers do it your pastors do it. Why do you keep sunday. We were encouraging them to study the scriptures. And to make choices that were based on. Scriptural principles based on what they believe god's will is rather then just saying. Oh well it's always been done that way. This is the way we've always done it. I grew up in effect a sunday keeping family. You know. Why do we make the choice we do. Well. As soon as i read that i says oh my goodness. I wonder if i ever do that. I mean obviously not about the sabbath but about anything else do i ever make choices. Because everybody just. Does it that way and. So the next day before i was thinking about this for a while next day for the worship. For the students. I was really mean to them. And i said. I can't write. I said you guys eat cakes and cookies and donuts and brownies and ice cream and. They said yeah of course i laugh of course i do. And i said why do you do that. Is it because you need all the calories in the fat. You know in the because there's something really healthy there that you need some healthy. Mineral car or. I mean that you need to you can't get someplace more healthfully. You know. So let me get this straight you know it's not healthy for you. And there's no you know there's nothing good in it. Why do you do it. And he said because it tastes good silly right. It tastes good. Why do we make the choices that we make. Is it because we consider. God's will or is it because our peers do it. Our parents do it. Maybe even our pastor do it. Why do we make the choices we make. That's a question. I'd like for us to consider this morning. This afternoon. Now i love these students there are great people. They're still good friends. I don't want to give them a hard time. But i'm just using the illustration. To show that sometimes. We do make choices. We take our power choice for granted we make choices not because we've actually thought a lot about it. Just because everybody does it. So. Can i say. To god. Thanks but no thanks to his commands. The answer of course is no. God says we must do it. But the reason why it is no might surprise you. Why is it not ever. A good idea. To say thanks but no thanks to one of god's gifts. One of his commands. The reason is is because there are over arching blessings that no true follower of christ would ever be willing to forego the blessings of abuse include the temporal things. Of course. Temporal health. Whether physical or mental or social or emotional. They are all part of the blessing of obeying god every one of god's commands is good for us. It's good for us. Health wise it's good for us. Our bodies it's good for our mind that's good for everything. So those are the temporal blessings but besides the temporal blessings. There are spiritual blessings that come. Every time we open one of god's. Gifts. And accept his command. For example. Obedience is faith in hansing. There's a underlined word for you. Faith. Obedience is faith in hansing. Do we all want more faith. I think we do. We need faith. Desperately going. The bible says. In james two twenty one twenty two. Was not abraham our father justified by works. When he offered up isaac his son on the altar. You see that face. Was working with his works. And as a result of the what. As a result of the works. The faith was perfected. Oh now we're beginning to understand why god values obedience so much. Because he wants us to have faith without faith it is impossible to please god the righteous will live by faith. Salvation comes by faith where we desperately need faith and god is saying hey. As a result of the works. Faith is perfected. That's one of the good things that come from a bang god. Every one of god's commands is a gift. And invitation to be blessed. Not just temporarily. But also in faith. Besides faith. There's another thing. Obedience is prayer in hand saying. The bible says. Beloved if our heart does not condemn us. We have confidence before god. And whenever we ask we receive from him because we keep his commandments. And do the things that are pleasing in his sight. We're not doing it to earn it. That's a legal list. We're doing it to accept it. To receive it. To hold up our empty basket as the lord. Levitra goodness on me. Obeying god as prayer in hand saying. Now my friends. These are all wonderful things. And by themselves. They would be a good reason why we would never want to pass up one of god's commands not even the smallest one. But these. These all pale in significant. Compared to the overarching blessing. That come from obeying god. And that is this. Obeying god is love and hansing. Obeying god is love and hansing. When we open. God's gifts. When we let him lavish his goodness upon us. Our love for him. Grows. Our appreciation for his goodness. Stimulates our heart to love him with all of our hearts and minds and soul and strength. Jesus said if you keep my commandments you will abide in my love. Just as i have kept my father's commandments. And abide in his love. Part of what it means to abide in christ. Is to abide with him. Joyfully. In the center of his will. Carefully walking with him. Yoke to him. And chase him lee. And if it's true that obedience is love in hand saying the opposite is also true. Disobedience is love inhibiting. Isaiah says behold the lord's hand is not so short that it cannot save. Nor is it yours so dull that it cannot hear. But your a nick would ease. Have made a separation between you and your god. And your sins have hindoos face from you so that he does not hear. Obeying god is love in him saying. Disobeying god. Saying lord thanks but no thanks. Is love inhibiting. Our iniquities. Have made a separation between us and our god. And that's something that no true follower of christ will ever be willing to accept. We will not cannot. Knowingly disobey god. Because we will not want to be separated from him. Now this. This verse is interesting the says that it hides his face from us. How does. Disobedience. Hide god's face from us. Does he turn. Back on us as soon as we've seen as we sin. No we are turning our back on him right as a sin is sin is rebellion and saying laura i know your way but i'm going to take my way we're turning our back on god. When adam and eve sinned. Who hid from who and who came running. Right jesus is always there waiting eagerly to forgive us. And to bring us back into the center of his will and life says that to know god is to be one with him in thought and heart and mind. Having an experimental knowledge of him holding reverential communion with him as a redeemer. Only through sincere obedience. Can this commitment communion. Be obtained. Only through sincere what. Can communion with jesus be obtained to know god is to be one with him in heart. In mind. Having an experimental knowledge of him holding reverential communion with him. As the redeemer. Only through sincere obedience. Can this community be obtained. Wow. Then all of a sudden. It's no mystery at all why god wants us to obey him. It's not about earning deserving american salvation. It's about a relationship with him. It's about loving him. It's about enjoying him and his goodness to the fullest. Cub just wants to plus us. My goodness how could i not understand this all my life. God. Just wants to lavish his goodness. On us. No wonder. Obedience is so important to god. Can i say thanks but no thanks to god. God has given us the power of choice. It is our only one great power. Our only one true power. And it always will be our only one true power. But when i say. Thanks but no thanks to god what am i doing with my power of choice. I'm using my power of choice to choose something other than his choice. And that is bad for us. It's bad for our relationship with god and spared for others. There is no good side to that but choosing god's choices. Choosing god's will. There's no downside. It's all good. All the time. We can know that. My friends i hope that you understand that i am not talking to you this morning about ice cream. I hoped you would stand that. My job is not to stand up here and tell you what you should or should not be eating or watching or reading. It's not my job. What i want you to do is i want you to think about choices. I want you to ask yourself why do i choose. The choices that i'm choosing. Is because i've thought about it is because i want to please god. I want to receive the fullness of his blessing. Or is it because well it's just the way it's always been done. That's all i'm asking that you think about your choices god has given you the power of choice. Please don't take the power of choice for granted. Think about your choices. And about why you're making them. God has given us the power of choice. We know that good choices are love in hansing. And that bad choices. Are love inhibiting. The christian life is like orange juice. I love orange juice fresh squeezed orange juice. Delightful nectar. I remember once i went to singapore on a business trip. And i came down to the breakfast bar and they had this big bowl of half cut. Oranges and the side of the resist using machine. And i made myself my own glass of orange juice and it was so good. But you know. Not too far from the order to use was the donor tray. What do you think would have happened if i had eaten a donut. Before drinking the orange juice. It would be sour. It would be unpalatable would be distasteful. What happened to the orange juice change. I know by my choices. Follow me closely here. By my choices. I. Can determine how sweet jesus is to me. By my choices. I get to choose. How sweet jesus. Is to me. And by my choices. I can give myself as ellen white says a dish relish for spiritual things. By the things that i watch. By the things that i read. By the things that i eat. By the things i do buy the things that i say buy the things that i choose. I can affect my relationship with jesus. No wonder god wants us to choose his way. Because he wants jesus to be sweet. To us. That's our key phrases afternoon let's read that together shall we. Obedience is not why. God blesses me. It is how he blesses me by my choices. I get to choose. How sweet jesus is to me. If you keep my commandments. Jesus says. You will abide in my love. And now he tells us why he wants us to buy him his love. He says. These things i have spoken to you. So that what. My joy may be in you. And that you are. What joy me be made for all everything that god tells us. Is for this reason that his joy may be in us that our joy. May be made full. God it just wants us to enjoy him. He eventually. Longs for us to enjoy him. To relish him. To delight in the almighty god. And we saw that the seed of love is the surrender of self. If i want to love god with all my heart and mind and soul is truth i must give god all my soul and mind and strength and now we're finding out in practical terms how that way. Works. What is. Surrender to god. It's giving him our choices. He has given us the power of choice. Surrender is giving it back. God has given us the power of choice. Surrender means giving it back. In all of our choices. All the time. Now. Can i say to god. Lord. I choose to give you my power of choice to stake out i want to empower choice anymore. And i do that. No he won't let me give it back. He won't take it back. He gave it to me for a good reason. It's scary. But he gave it to me for good reason because without it i can't love him. So how do i give god my power of choice i can't ask him to take it back. How do i give it back. By making his choices instead of mine. That's how i do not own my own strength not on my own wisdom. But on his by his grace. By faith in him. He can help us. To give him. Our choices. In every area of our life. All the time. So that we can receive his bounties. To the fullest. We can enjoy god. To the fullest. That is his desire for you and i today. Do you want to enjoy god. If you want to relish him. You can. It's your choice. Let's pray. Heavenly father thank you for giving us the choice to enjoy you. Thank you father for empowering us for working us both to will and to do. This great thing. Of giving you all of our choices it's impossible for us. But we thank you father that you make it possible. And that you. Lavish your goodness upon us. In everything you ask us to do all father please help us to joyfully. And chiefly. Open these gifts. And enjoy you. Delight in the almighty god. We pray for these things we thank you so much for them in jesus name. This. Media was brought to you by audio verse. A website dedicated to spreading god's word through free sermon audio. And much more. If you would like to know more. Audio verse. If you would like to listen to more service. Leader visit. W w w dot. Audio verse or.


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